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The Hudsucker Presents NFL Weekly – Week 5: And Then There Were Three

This year our writers are teaming up to bring you weekly football coverage! Each week, a few of our writers will be sharing their thoughts and highlights from games they’ve watched. Who were the winners this week? Who remains undefeated? Which team will come out victorious at the end of the 2013-2014 season? 

‎‎It’s been five weeks into the 2013 season and for some of the NFL teams, things are looking extremely well and going exactly to plan! Five teams owned perfect records heading into Sunday’s games but only three were lucky enough to escape with a victory; the Broncos, Saints, and Chiefs, leading 5-0. The others? Well, a lot of teams are close to perfect but still need to make their mark–that is if some of these teams can find it, like the Jacksonville Jaguars (0-5), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-5) and the Pittsburgh Steelers (0-4).

The Broncos and powerhouse QB Peyton Manning were just as impressive last year, finishing first in the AFC West; but teams like the Chiefs and Saints are exciting fans this season, especially since coming off a rough start in 2012. Last year the Chiefs were 2-14; and the Saints at 7-9 without Sean Payton. But this last Sunday, the Saints rolled past the Chicago Bears in a game proving the Saints have got the magic touch! They are doing what they’ve always done, but this year they’re doing it better. NFL gurus and fans are even speculating that the team may be the best of them all; a dark horse among the three undefeated teams this season. But what do you think? And what do our writers think? This week we hear from Chris HillTania Hussain and Andrew Rogers as they team up and share some highlights from their favorite games of the week, what they thought of the plays and what to look ahead for. Which games did you enjoy?

Seattle Seahawks at Indianapolis Colts

Image Credit: AP Photo/Brent R. Smith

Colts, 34-28

Andrew:

Again, I love the Seahawks. But I also love watching Andrew Luck play and I also wanted to see undefeated teams (minus the Saints) lose this week. Still, this was a thrilling game. I didn’t expect Luck to be able to answer the Seahawks defense or Wilson’s fast-paced scoring but he did and more. I think Luck is actually the one who set the tone in this game and Seattle was struggling to keep up. I used to think the Texans were a sure bet for the playoffs this year, but that hope is all but out the door. I think I can say with some certainty now that if the Colts keep playing like they did in this game against big, scary teams like the Seahawks, they will be there and don’t forget, their schedule features the Broncos, Bengals, Chiefs, Titans and Texans in the next little while so… they’ve got their work cut out for them.

Tania:

And the Colts are at it again! Seriously, they have a brand new identity this year and it’s proving to be quite the charmer. They can’t even be compared to the last era of football with Manning. They are so developed and have evolved into a great rebrand, and sure, the Seahawks gave the Colts a run for their money, but Seattle’s defense failed at containing Indy’s O-line. It was a huge home win for Indy! Luck and Ty Hilton are an explosive combination and you can really see Luck be his own player as he grows in this team. Ty Hilton caught five passes in the whole game and made two TDs. The Colts continue to lead the AFC South division but with that in mind, the rest of their division saw losses this past week, so that definitely gives them the advantage in their conference. Like Andrew mentioned though, they have a tight schedule up ahead, including playing against two undefeated champs.

New Orleans Saints at Chicago Bears

Image Credit: AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

Saints, 26-18

Andrew:

After the Falcons win in Week 1, I wasn’t really worried about many of the Saints more recent games. The Dolphins were scary because they were undefeated, but in retrospect I feel like they weren’t really that much of a threat to us. The Bears, however, are a team that the Saints traditionally lose to, especially at Soldier Field because it’s outdoor and that just isn’t a great scene for us, so I was nervous, to say the least. Especially when, at the beginning of the game, a few of the Saints running plays were cut short by slips on the wet field. What saved us in that first part of the game was our new and improved defense, holding Jay Cutler off and making sure he couldn’t even get a single first down.

Every time Drew got the ball back, I waited to see what he’d do and when he connected with a few unexpected faces (#23 Pierre Thomas, to be specific), my nerves died down a bit and I knew they’d get the win.

As a sidenote, I get very superstitious before big games. I think about what I wear, what I eat, what I do. It’s probably a little over the top but I can probably speak for a few football fans and say I’m not alone in this respect. This week, we play the Pats, which is always a scary team to play even when, as they have been this season, they’re a little off their usual game. But this week they should have Gronk back and they’ll be at home, so I know Drew and the gang won’t underestimate them.

Chris:

What a difference a legitimate coaching staff makes. Last year, the Saints D would have given up this game. Rob Ryan is doing a great job mixing different looks with variable amounts of pressure. On offense, the game plan was clear – avoid the big turnover against the turnover machine that had been the Bears D. It’s no fluke that the Saints touchdowns came on passes to the running back…

The Bears offense is very impressive, but unfortunately, if they can’t utilize all of their stars, they won’t outscore teams like the Saints. Alshon Jeffery is on fire, and Forte is doing well. But Brandon Marshall needs the ball, or at the very least, targets.

San Francisco 49ers at Houston Texans

Image Credit: AP Photo/Beck Diefenbach

49ers, 34-3

Tania:

This game was a disaster for the Texans–complete bloodbath! The whole game really stank for them and is an ugly skidmark on their season record though they play the St. Louis Rams this weekend and well, that could be in anyone’s favor at this point since both teams are 2-3.‎ The 49ers on the other hand have improved to 3-2, quite the opposite. San Fran definitely dominated Houston this past Sunday night with a tough defense, devouring QB Matt Schaub and his mistakes. The 49ers are now back in the NFC West race after Seattle lost to Indianapolis. This team is certainly getting its confidence back and look decent for the next few weeks.

New England Patriots at Cincinnati Bengals

Image Credit: Marc Lebryk/AP Photo

Bengals, 13-6

Andrew:

All week I was sort of cheering for every undefeated team’s winning streak to snap except the Saints. Sadistic, I know, but I love my boys. Anyway, I thought this game was a long shot for that to happen, but I have also seen Paul Brown Stadium in person and I believe what I said to my boyfriend at the time was “that must be a nasty place to play in bad weather” and sure enough… the rain got to Brady and he missed a few easy throws. I think some credit must be given to the Bengals defense for putting up a good show and holding him off but, if I’m being honest, half the blame must be accorded to Brady for just plain sloppy work. If he plays like this against my team, I’ll be thrilled but if I know Brady and Belichick, they’ll be looking to redeem themselves this week.

Denver Broncos at Dallas Cowboys

Check out Peyton Manning playing against the Dallas Cowboys and getting it done on the ground in the GIF above. Image Credit: Deadspin

Broncos, 51-48

Tania:

This was a fun game! Totally nail-biting and masterfully crafted. Peyton Manning was great again and though he threw his first interception of the season, he ended up running a “naked bootleg” for his first rushing TD in five years. What does that mean in Michael Scott terms? It means he faked a handoff and ran it himself. It was a move no one really expected and sure it was only one-yard, but it reiterated that you don’t mess with the wild horses. I guess you could say in this case, the horse tamed the cowboy….? But I digress. The Broncos don’t to worry much because their defense is well played and has been improving each week.

Tony Romo, though? He needs to stop worrying about how other teams play, warning referees, and just focus on his own team. His team’s defense needs a ton of work to get it together. He may have thrown 5 TDs but his pass in the last few minutes of the game was the move that caused the Broncos to intercept for a victory.

Andrew:

Wow, what a game. This was seriously one of those unexpected thrillers. People had been buzzing all day about how Peyton had never won in Dallas, but I just scoffed thinking of course he’d win this time around, the Broncos are miles better than the Cowboys. And then Tony Romo & Co. came out fighting. Even though Romo threw that devastating Pick Six right at the end there, I still think he proved to the rest of the NFC East that the Cowboys are the team that will rise about the mediocrity and end up in the playoffs. I never thought I’d be heaping praise on Romo, but here we are. I miss the days of Eli already. But how about that awesome fake and walk-in touchdown on Peyton’s part? What a boss.

Chris:

Defense is optional. But who’s complaining? This game just shows how valuable it is to have a running game. After Dallas went down, they eased off Demarco Murray. Meanwhile, Knowshon ripped open the Cowboys defense on multiple occasions – Peyton had a rushing score too. I think Romo is very good, sometimes really good. But he doesn’t NEED to throw for 500 plus yards. The Cowboys would have won of they had been more balanced.I have nothing to say about Peyton Manning…it’s already been said.

New York Jets at Atlanta Falcons

Image Credit: Kevin Cox/Getty Images

Jets, 30-28

Chris:

Well if you don’t have a defense, you will never win consistently. The Falcons HAD to improve their defense over the summer…they didn’t. They lost a lot of guys on both sides of the ball—a whole lot of pieces they probably can’t recover from but to let a rookie quarterback drive down the field to set up the game winning field goal? There is no excuse for that.

I know everyone talks about the Jets having a bad team. They do, at least on offense. But the defense is still good though. If Geno can develop and be less erratic, watch out New England.

Andrew:

I always root against the Falcons because they’re the Saints biggest rival, but going into this game I was kind of pitying them. And because I have Matt Ryan on my fantasy team, I was hoping they’d do something. But once again, they seem to be handing the NFC South to the Saints as they let the Jets… let me repeat that: The Jets, walk all over them. Sure, the Jets receiving core was leaping and diving for some spectacular catches and they seemed to find a rhythm that they haven’t had in two or three seasons, but I was still shocked that the Falcons (who were 8-0 last season, in case you’ve already forgotten) didn’t put up more of a fight.

 As we head into Week 6, which undefeated team will face their first loss? Will it be the Broncos, Saints, or Chiefs? Or will they return undefeated for another week? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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